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Film / Class of 1999

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Class of 1999 is a 1990 American science fiction action thriller horror film directed by Mark L. Lester (Commando), featuring Malcolm McDowell, Stacy Keach, and Pam Grier. In the film, set in the year 1999, school violence has reached the point where humanoid robots originally designed as soldiers had to be reprogrammed to become teachers that would administer discipline unto the unruly students set to do harm unto others at Seattle's John F. Kennedy High School. Cody Culp (Bradley Gregg), a gang member, teams up with Christie, the principal's daughter, to find out the secret behind the new teachers and to destroy them before they do harm unto all the students.

It is the thematic sequel to Class of 1984, and was followed by the 1994 direct-to-video sequel Class of 1999 II: The Substitute, also known as Class of 2001: The Substitute.

This film provides the following tropes:

  • Agony of the Feet: Miss Connors, the Chemistry teacher (who is a robot), crushes a student's foot with one of her heels.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Although the humanoid robots have been reprogrammed to work within a civilian population as teachers and disciplinarians, it doesn't take long before their original programming kicks in and they become lethal killing machines unto the students. Of course, it turns out that Dr. Forest expected that to happen.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Christie, the daughter of the principal and perfectly law-abiding student, befriends and later falls in love with Cody, a former gang member on parole.
  • Alliterative Name: Cody Culp.
  • And Show It to You: This how Bryles kills Dr. Forrest.
  • Attempted Rape: A few students try to rape Christie, but Cody comes to her rescue and protects her from her would-be assailants. Unfortunately for him, No Good Deed Goes Unpunished, as he gets the crap beaten out of him by Mr. Bryles, the Phys Ed teacher.
  • Ax-Crazy: The robot teachers once their military programming kicks in, especially Bryles, who is the first one to actually kill a student with a Neck Snap.
  • Black-and-Grey Morality: A bunch of morally ambiguous students against killer robots.
  • Cassandra Truth: No one in either gang initially buys into Cody's warnings that the teachers are robots and out to kill them. It isn't until the teachers interfere with their shootout and kill several members from both gangs that they soon believe him.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Dr. Bob Forrest. He is the head of Megatech and willing to see countless teens killed so he can profit.
  • Crapsack World: The 1999 as depicted in the film's setting looks rather bleak, although it is most likely the case for the underclass who have to resort to being in gangs in order to get by, with drugs and violence being a way of life.
  • Deceptively Human Robots: The robots introduced by Dr. Forrest as replacement teachers for a high school where violence has become a common everyday thing. Mr. Bryles does reveal their robotic insides to a group of people by stretching his mouth open.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The robot teachers' modus operandi. Even before they begin killing students, mind.
  • Don't Make Me Take My Belt Off!: Hardin delivers painful "corporate punishment" on two unruly students in his classroom right in front of the other students.
  • Enemy Mine: Once the Razorheads and the Blackhearts realize that the teachers are robots and were using each other's hatred for the other gang to destroy themselves, they team together to put an end to the teachers once and for all.
  • Fantastic Drug: Edge, which is used by most of the gang members. Cody refuses to have any part in using it.
  • Fatal Family Photo: In the scene after Cody and his brother Angel declare that, gang stuff aside, they still love each other, the Killer Robot teachers abduct Angel, kill him, and dump the body at the entrance of the Blackhearts' hideout, making it look like it's a declaration of war by the Razorheads.
  • Force Feeding: Hardin kills a drugged-up student by force-feeding him with Edge.
  • Forklift Fu: Cody kills Bryles by chaining him to a forklift and pulling his head off from his body.
  • Gang Initiation Fight: The Blackhearts have the "get the shit pummeled out if you by every member" variant. Angel and Cody both endure it, or in Cody's case reendures it, so he can take part of the gang fight and take revenge on his brother's death.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Dr. Forrest gets killed by the very robots he sent into a high school to do the killing for him.
  • Junkie Parent: Cody and Angel's mother turns out to be a junkie getting high on Edge.
  • Neck Snap: The teachers off a few of the gang members this way. It's also how Cody finds out about their murderous nature when he sees one such incident happen in front of him.
  • Off with His Head!: Mr. Bryles is defeated when Cody wraps a chain around his neck and uses a machine to rip his robotic head off his body.
  • Playing with Fire: Miss Conners uses a flamethrower in the climax. Cody and Christie use this ability against her when they lure her into the Chemistry lab and turn on the gas nozzles to flood the room with flammable gas, causing Miss Conners to set herself on fire.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Miles Langford, the principal of John F. Kennedy High School, tries his best to be this even in the face of accusations about the new robotic teachers committing murder upon the students. When Langford tries to pull the plug on the project, Dr. Forrest has his robots kill him.
  • Robo Cam: Whenever the film jumps into the POV of the robots, we see visual displays featuring Terminator-style information such as the proper form of action to take. In Teacher mode, the visual readouts are in white, but in Military mode, they become red, indicating a threat that must be eradicated.
  • Robotic Reveal: Dr. Forest shows off the robots to the school board at the beginning by having Mr. Bryles expose his endoskeleton to them.
  • Smug Snake: Dr. Bob Forrest has "backstabbing, murderous scumbag" written in every action he makes and does them all with a smile on his face.
  • Sucky School: Screw "sucky" and replace with "warzone". The schools are surrounded by "free fire zones", they are prisons with guards carrying assault rifles and metal detectors that still are unable to catch every little bit of contraband drugs and guns, the United States Department of Education had to develop a militarized arm just to try to put any type of order in them, and this is before Dr. Forrest arrives with the bright idea of using kill-bot infiltrators as teachers.
  • Targeted to Hurt the Hero: Cody's brother Angel is murdered by the robots as bait to make both gangs kill each other, and they chose him for the most part because they happened to see him and Cody doing brotherly stuff.
  • Teenage Wasteland: The Crapsack World cyberpunk ghettoes are worse around the schools of America — as in the government established a defense force to try to keep order in them and perimeter of about ten miles around them is considered a "free-fire zone" (read:"cops aren't coming, you're on your own").
  • This Is a Drill: Hardin has a grip with a drill attached to it hidden under one of his arms, which he uses to bore into a student's head to kill him near the end of the film.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: Filmed in 1987, released in 1990, the movie is set in the future world of 1999.